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Notre Dame’s recruiting classes after a change at head coach usually aren’t good

But 2022 is

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Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish just signed the #7 recruiting class in the country with an average player ranking that we haven’t seen since the 2013 class. The early period still has a day to go (which won’t move the needle) and another signing day in February which could move the needle — but it doesn’t really matter right now.

Notre Dame went through a head coaching change just a couple of weeks ago, and still found success out on the trail. This isn’t a normal thing for Notre Dame. Of course — we are used to seeing a head coaching change at Notre Dame happen due to the guy being fired, but it doesn’t change the end results here.

This doesn’t mean a whole bunch, and doesn’t add a couple of receivers to the board, but it should at least make you feel a little better that this massive change at the top didn’t blow everything up.

For our purposes here, we are just speaking about the “Rivals recruiting era” which just means we are going back to 2002 — which is when the online recruiting services first began. It won’t have the information available about the transition from Lou Holtz to Bob Davie in 1997. But I mean... how much of that change is relatable today? Who cares if a head coaching hire was made in-house and given to a defensive coordinator that has never been a head coach before? Right?


Back in 2002, Tyrone Willingham was hired to replace George O’Leary who was hired to replace Bob Davie. Willingham helped save a class that could have gone completely sideways with the way the coaching search went down. Maurice Stovall, Rhema McKnight, Anthony Fasano, Derek Landri, and 2-Star Mike Richardson were some of the gems of the 2002 class.

Interestingly enough, one of the 18 members of this class was OL Scott Raridon — father of 2022 commit TE Eli Raridon.

Welcome to the lowest-rated recruiting class in Notre Dame history. This class came during the Ty Willingham to Charlie Weis transition. While Weis became a really good recruiter at Notre Dame, there was nothing he could do to save what happened here with its 15 commitments.

The class had just two 4-Star recruits, but a couple of the 3-Stars did really well with the Irish in David Bruton and David Grimes.

The transition from Charlie Weis to Brian Kelly seemed like a long process, but during that process, Kelly got a gift from heaven. 4-Star DT Louis Nix III committed to Notre Dame while the Irish didn’t have a head coach in place. It was a very mediocre class and the average player rating seemed really accurate.

Kelly added a large handful of late names to the class to help fill out Notre Dame’s depleted roster. The top guys in this group that worked out at Notre Dame (up for debate) were Nix, Tommy Rees, TJ Jones, and Bennett Jackson.

Keep Crootin’

Look — these things are never easy. Marcus Freeman had just a couple of weeks to keep things together. While the Irish did have a handful of decommitments during that time, they were probably going to decommit even if nothing had happened with Kelly.

Freeman is a proven recruiter and has been emphatic about his commitment to working the trail with everything he has. Having the #7 class in the country is really nice, but it’s also a long ways away from the elite classes needed to win a national championship — and Freeman knows it.

Basically... the best is yet to come.


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